BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Arabic Spanish Russian Chinese Welsh

 You are in: World: Europe
Front Page 
Middle East 
South Asia 
From Our Own Correspondent 
Letter From America 
UK Politics 
Talking Point 
In Depth 

Commonwealth Games 2002

BBC Sport

BBC Weather

Friday, 19 October, 2001, 13:30 GMT 14:30 UK
French Nato spy faces treason trial
Nato bombing of Belgrade
Bunel is accused of leaking Nato targets to Serbia
A former French army intelligence officer is to stand trial on charges of treason for allegedly leaking secret information about Nato's bombing plans in Kosovo to a Serbian diplomat.

What he did was not an act of treason. His actions were sponsored by a French service

Lawyer for Pierre Bunel
Major Pierre Bunel could face up to 15 years in prison if found guilty of committing "treason by providing confidential information to an enemy force".

He has admitted passing on the information to Yugoslavia but denies the treason charges, claiming that he was acting under the orders of a French intelligence service.

The trial will take place in a military court on 11 and 12 December.

'Humanitarian' act

Writing on a website he has set up to fight his case, Mr Bunel says he is confident he can persuade the court of his innocence.

Actual Nato bomb target
In the event, the bombing was postponed
"I have great hope to convince the Criminal Court that I am not a traitor, and that, on the contrary the main responsibility falls on part of my hierarchy."

Mr Bunel headed the office of the French delegation at Nato headquarters in Brussels and is believed to have passed classified information to the Serbs from July to October 1998.

His lawyer said at the time that he had handed over the documents for "purely humanitarian reasons".

Serbian sympathies

Arrested in 1998 and put under investigation by a Paris court, he was later released and in 1999 a change in the law meant the case was passed to a military tribunal.

The potential Nato targets allegedly identified by Mr Bunel were, in the event, not hit as the alliance postponed the threatened strikes.

Other alliance members, however, have blamed Serbian sympathies within the French military for hampering Nato's campaign in the Balkans.

In 1998 a French liaison officer was accused of allegedly scuppering an attempt to arrest the Bosnian Serb wartime leader Radovan Karadzic by leaking details of the plan.

See also:

02 Nov 98 | Europe
French officer 'spied for Serbs'
Internet links:

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Links to more Europe stories are at the foot of the page.

E-mail this story to a friend

Links to more Europe stories